About a month ago, I mentioned that Dave and I have been enjoying zucchini noodles (zoodles) and sweet potato noodles as very low-carb, low-calorie “pasta” alternatives in many of our favorite pasta dishes — you know how much we love pasta based on ALLLLLL the pasta recipes I’ve shared over the years!
I don’t think I’ve had an actual pasta noodle since the holidays AND… I truly don’t miss them!
I’ve roasted thin slices of zucchini to use for lasagna noodles and I’ve used our spiralizer over and over and over again to spiralize zucchinis and sweet potatoes to replace all our favorite pastas.
Zucchini and sweet potato noodles are amazingly delicious — in fact, Dave and I still can’t believe we’re eating vegetables instead of pasta! One time, I put leftovers in Dave’s lunch and he commented that the pasta was so good. He truly didn’t believe me that it was zucchini noodles!
After only a few months of making and eating our vegetable noodles, I’m far from an expert; however, based on the number of emails, questions, and comments I’ve gotten regarding our spiralizer and how we use it to make vegetable noodles, I figured it was time for a post.
I have tons of recipes I’d love to share… eventually. But first, I thought it might be helpful to do a quick post about how exactly I use my spiralizer and how I cook these “noodles” (note: you do NOT want to boil them!)
If you’ve wanted to try zoodles, but are unsure… I hope today’s post helps to answer a few of your questions and gives you the confidence you need to finally give them a try!
First Things First – Our Spiralizer:
Obviously, you’ll need some sort of spiralizer if you’re going to make zoodles.
This is the spiralizer we have — we love it and it works REALLY well. There are many other smaller and cheaper spiralizers, but I had already tried my sisters and hers is very similar to this one.
If you’re completely new to the world of spiralizing veggies, my advice would be to see if you can borrow a spiralizer from a friend FIRST. Either that, or buy one you know you can return just in case it isn’t a great fit for you.
Then, if you really love spiralized veggies, you’ll be able to justify a more expensive spiralizer.
How I make zoodles.
The process of making zoodles (or spiralizing any other vegetable) is so simple… it almost feels like you’re doing something wrong!
In my case, I need to cut the ends of the veggies to make each end flat.
Then I put the vegetable in the spiralizer and crank away (no need to peel them.)
I usually put my cutting board on the opposite end so all the zoodles end up on the cutting board. This is helpful because spiralized noodles are REALLY long, so you’ll want to run through the pile of noodles with a knife or kitchen scissors before cooking them.
When you’re finished, you might end up with something that looks like this. I usually just cut it up into small chunks and cook it right in with the zoodles. If you don’t like the seeds, you can just toss it.
Cooking zoodles is very easy, but VERY DIFFERENT than cooking regular noodles, because you don’t boil them.
All you have to do is heat a little oil or butter in a large frying pan, then sauté the zoodles in oil for 3-5 minutes, or until soft but crunchy.
If you’re doing sweet potatoes or carrots, you can quickly steam them on a plate in the microwave for a minute or 2 before sautéing them.
Either way, the spiralized noodles will cook down quite a bit — so make more than you think you’ll need. I usually figure on 1 small to medium zucchini per person and about 1/2 a sweet potato per person.
A Few More Tips:
- Save time by spiralizing your veggies in advance. They will store well in covered containers in your fridge for several days.
- Feel free to try half zoodles and half regular (pre-cooked) spaghetti in any of your favorite pasta recipes — we sometimes do this for our kids!
- Speaking of your favorite recipes, you do NOT need to use a fancy Pinterest recipe with 37 ingredients to be able to enjoy zoodles. I have successfully swapped zucchini and/or sweet potato noodles for SO many of my favorite, simple pasta recipes — including straight spaghetti with meat sauce, marinara sauce, or Alfredo sauce.
- If you really want to try them but don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a spiralizer, I’ve seen pre-spiralized zucchini, carrots, and sweet potato in the produce section of 3 different grocery stores (including Aldi when I tried it out over spring break!)
- If you want to use sliced zucchini in place of lasagna noodles, you’ll want to slice it thinly and roast it for about 20 minutes first — otherwise it will make your lasagna quite watery.
One of my biggest requirements when it comes to any type of healthier food is that it MUST TASTE GREAT — otherwise it’s not worth eating.
I know all tastebuds are different, but I can honestly speak for both Dave and myself when I say zucchini and sweet potato noodles are amazingly delicious!
Looks like we might finally be able to use up all our garden zucchini this year (love this picture of Nora and Simon from almost THREE years ago.)
Please share any of your spiralizing tips and recipes in the comments!
And as always, visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly recipes!